Archive for September, 2012

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

September 14th, 2012

Every winter, powerful northern hemisphere swells cross thousands of miles of open ocean and descend upon the Hawaiian Islands to create some of the largest, most powerful and challenging waves on the planet. On Oahu's famed North Shore, they beckon the top professional surfers from around the globe who come in search of big waves, big barrels and an even bigger reputation. For them, everything is at stake in the world's most prestigious surfing series:
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion


Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

This year the series celebrates 30 years, with a total prize purse of $925,000. It runs from November 12 through December 20 on the North Shore of Oahu:

Reef Hawaiian Pro, Haleiwa Ali'i Beach - Nov. 12 - 25
Vans World Cup of Surfing, Sunset Beach - Nov. 26-Dec. 6
Billabong Pipe Masters, Banzai Pipeline - Dec. 8-20

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

Founded in 1983, the Triple Crown is set at three distinct breaks on  the North Shore - Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline - and each wave requires power, commitment, style, and a skill set to match the nuances of each location.

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

Courtesy: Ocean Promotion

From the technical waves at Haleiwa, to the powerful walls at Sunset Beach, and the infamous barrels at the Banzai Pipeline, the Vans Triple Crown Champion is the surfer who has the diversity, ability and stamina to excel in the uniquely demanding surf conditions at all three spots.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will be webcast live in HD at In 2011, it set an action industry record as the most watched live action sports event in webcast history.

Pets and plants

September 12th, 2012

The footprints solved the mystery. I have mentioned before that there's been a chicken visiting my container garden. Maybe so, but there's also strong evidence now that my dog is going in and trampling stuff.

Who, me?

Who, me?

I had Claus help me dig up (and by 'help me' I mean, do it all by himself) the very hard dirt in the garden so I could amend it with compost. The soil was soft. Then it rained, so it was muddy.

Broken zip tie

Broken zip tie

Was there something compelling about the smell of the new compost? Inca wanted so badly to get into the garden that she broke through the flimsy zip ties that hold the fence together (I never said we were carpentry whizzes) and left large, deep footprints in the mud. I know, because her dog porch was all muddy when I came out in the morning.


Meanwhile, in yet another effort to maximize my small patches of sunny growing areas, I went vertical. I bought pots that can hang over the railings. I put a couple on the cat's porch.

The cat really enjoyed rubbing her chin on the fuzzy red celosia flowers. Every time I looked at it, certain flowers were getting furrier and furrier. One day, she bit one flower head off. Another day, she pulled it out and dropped it on the floor.

Broken flower

Broken flower

I had another pot of mints on the cat's porch. The cat was walking through that a lot, apparently. As with the dog, the footprints did Ocho in. I had some towels hanging out to dry on the railing and twice, I came out to find dirt on them.

That was the end of the plants on the back porch. I moved that to the dog's porch. Of course Inca doesn't have a great track record with my plants either, but I think containers up high will be OK.

Honestly, these animals!

The quest for some bull

September 10th, 2012

This is a story about my hunt for some bulls***. I have a container garden my friend Dave made for me. Lately, it's become hard and compacted, and won't grow much of anything.

Sad garden

Sad garden

Dave is a farmer, plus he procured me the soil from a bulk supplier, so it was a certain kind of soil. I asked him what to do. He said:

"Was there a lot of water coming off the roof and running in there? That's kind of a problem if it exists. The soil will always get compacted over time from that process... Dig up the existing dirt (as deep as possible). Then fill it up with the steer manure compost blend. Then mix that in with the dirt that you dug up. It would be a good idea to wait a couple weeks after that. After the plants are all in, be sure to put 3-4" of mulch on top, but leave an inch or so around the stem of the plant. If there is enough sun there, then you should be hip deep in veggies in a month or two."

Yes, there was once a lot of water running in there. OK, I understand I need to amend the soil using steer manure; hence the hunt for some bull.

I only found compost at City Mill; it was the only thing that wasn't called potting soil. Where do I get said manure?


I mentioned my situation while visiting a friend at work, at an organization known for bureaucracy and politics. "We have a lot of that here," he said. I don't want it unless it makes my garden grow!

Berried shrimp!

September 7th, 2012

My opae ula are finally having babies! I have two tanks and decided to combine the two together, so I was observing the tank after I had merged the colonies. Opae are supposedly friendly, so I didn't think there would be an issue. There wasn't.

8-21-12 Berried shrimp2

It was Claus who noticed it first. "Are those eggs?" he asked, pointing to a shrimp who clearly had a bunch of round eggs on her tail. I have been waiting for months to hear that.

According to a shrimping acquaintance, David at, the brood period of the eggs is 30-38 days. "Initially, eggs are a bright red-orange and become darker and brownish-black when they are ready to hatch after about about 38 days. Eggs that are aborted or fall off early do not hatch. Almost all eggs that stay on the female to within 3 days of hatching will likely hatch. Females have been observed "kicking off" eggs that were already in the process of hatching. Almost all eggs that hatch go on to mature into post-larvae, juveniles and adults," says his website.

8-21-12 Berried shrimp

I sat and watched the tank for a while, and I saw a second shrimp with eggs - a berried female. So, one female has about 15 eggs, and the other has only two. The eggs are dark, so maybe they're close to hatching?

The shrimp tolerate a wide range of conditions, but mine live in low salinity (1/8 salt water) and are right below a window, so they get bright but indirect light all day. I think indirect light helps to curtail eutrophy. The only thing I think I would change about the tank is to add more limestone rocks to recreate more of the natural hypogeal environment (anchaline ponds) that the adults would seem to prefer, though I've read that the larvae like to gather in the brighter spots. Hey, soon I'll discover for myself! Exciting!

Signing off, Nature Geek

AKA: I really am my father's daughter

Moving day

September 5th, 2012

Our live-in sitter has moved out. For four years, Jul has shared our home and our lives, and been such a wonderful caregiver to our daughter.

Nothing stays the same forever, and Jul left us in early August due to some big life changes which we understand and support. It was fun having him as a roommate and friend, as well.

We weren't sure what to do with the extra room, and were at first intending to make it an exercise area. However, we ultimately went for the practical solution of 'guest room,' a choice rewarded when my in-laws announced they'd be wintering with us this year. This room is furthest away from the master bedroom.

This also means the second bathroom, previously Jul's bathroom, could now be reassigned to someone else to use. It makes sense for Claus to use it. His entire grooming ritual takes, like, 60 seconds and consists of a toothbrush and razor. That's it. Not a comb, no hair products, nothing. Easy for him to relocate back to the master bedroom when guests are here.

Me, I have several sets of hot curlers, five curling or flat irons, those plastic drawers stacked under the cabinet with makeup and lotion, dozens of nail polishes, several brushes, clips, cotton balls, lotions, removers, and other various potions. I am not portable.

I didn't want to just boss Claus around so I decided to hint nicely and sell him on the idea. "Hey, Sweetie. The guest bathroom is so big. Wouldn't it be nice to have more elbow room at the sink?"

He wasn't listening to me. "Uh-huh."

"Do you think you would like to use it while guests aren't here?" I asked.

Now he understands. Now he laughs. "Oh, sure. I'll just use any spare bits of space you two aren't using," while sweeping his glance over dressers, a counter, and nightstands filled with Olivia's and my stuff. "I'll just be in the garage. Oh, no, wait. You guys have stuff in there, too."

So it boils down to: moving day for Jul also means moving day for Claus.

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